13 Villainous Hive Minds In Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked By Ruthless Efficiency

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In science fiction, there's nothing more horrifying than the hive mind, simply because this fairly common trope doesn't involve just a singular terror, but an entire (sometimes practically ubiquitous) network. There are nuances to the hive mind that make audiences cringe, regardless of the era. There's obviously the overwhelming horror of facing an army full of people thinking and acting as one flock of creeps, but the idea that you can be living your life and suddenly your body is being used to carry out what some other entity wants is genuinely upsetting.

Which of the villainous hive minds from cinema are the most ruthless and aggressive? Some of the most famous cinematic hive minds want to envelop everyone and everything, but there are others that just want to destroy. Not all hive minds are created equally, so it's up to you to decide which are the most efficient in their single-minded journey for the success of the hive.

Photo: Focus Features / Warner Bros. Pictures

  • The Hive Mind: The Xenomorphs are a hive mind in the most classic sense, with a large group of drones serving one giant queen. Each of these creatures plays a part in the circle of life in a very strict way in spite of existing purely to make their victims scream (in space, no less, where no one can hear them).

    Aliens breaks down the hive mind hierarchy in an easy-to-understand format. The queen lays hundreds of thousands of eggs. Those eggs bear Facehuggers. The Facehuggers dive out of their eggs at inopportune times for curious space travelers, attaching to their faces and impregnating them with a drone. Once the drone bursts out of the chest of its host, it grows until it's large enough to either do away with any lifeforms that are causing trouble for the queen, or it captures said lifeforms and cocoons them inside of the egg room where they'll be impregnated and restart the cycle.

    How They Are Defeated: Pure firepower, baby. Unlike many of the hive minds collected here, there's no telepathic link connecting the Xenomorphs. They live to feed, mate, and repeat. When Ellen Ripley arrives at their nest with a handful of space marines and an ungodly fury that's only matched by her itchy flamethrower finger, she single-handedly scorches these overgrown cockroaches into a distant memory. However, like cockroaches, Xenomorphs can never really be defeated.

    52 votes

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  • The Hive Mind: When someone is assimilated into the Borg Continuum, their personality is pushed to the side, making way for the Borg hive mind programming. They're outfitted with some cool-looking face tech and put to work serving the Borg Queen. From then on, their entire prerogative is to continue making more Borg until anything and everything is assimilated.

    The Borg have been the big bad of the Star Trek universe since Season 2 of The Next Generation, but in First Contact, the robotic creeps attempt a coup that would irreparably change the face of the Alpha Quadrant - they go back in time to stop humans from inventing warp technology. By doing this, not only would they stop the Federation from existing, but humans also wouldn't have a link to their allies across the galaxy. Oh, and the entire planet can easily be assimilated.

    How They Are Defeated: The Borg get a little too big for their britches in First Contact. Their plan to travel back in time and alter human history coincides with the Borg Queen attempting to seduce Data (the Enterprise's android operations manager) by offering him real human skin, complete with nerve endings and all of the sensual sensations that come along with it. At the end of the day, the Borg are out-thought by Data. While focusing on bringing in one specific member to their hive mind, they didn't realize he was planning to use their interest in him to his advantage. Just because you're a hive mind doesn't mean you're a hive genius.

    53 votes

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  • The Hive Mind: To paraphrase Insane Clown Posse, "Giant bugs, how do they work?" The warrior race of bugs who attack Earth in Starship Troopers act without compassion for their enemies. The bugs crush, maim, melt, and drain the brains of their victims with an efficiency that can only be attained through a hive mind.

    Director Paul Verhoeven contrasts the ruthless efficiency of the bugs with that of humanity by showing that no matter how eccentric and out-of-the-box soldiers like Johnny Rico can get, they'll always be out-fought by the never-ending churn of the telepathically controlled giant bugs. 

    How They Are Defeated: Here's the thing: Humans and bugs are more alike than we'd care to admit. The film ends with the bugs on the run because Earth makes use of its own telepaths who are able to communicate with and terrorize the "brain bugs" who run the operation. It's only when humanity starts acting like bugs that we're able to defeat these big, slimy creatures.

    33 votes

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  • The Hive Mind: The alien parasites in Slither are a lot like the alien parasites in The Faculty, but with one huge difference - they're way grosser. After landing in a small South Carolina town via meteorite, the parasites infect a creepy rich guy named Grant Grant, who turns into a giant version of the parasites while infecting his fellow citizens. 

    Locals who have been infected with the parasites lose all free will and begin to act with only one thought - infect everyone and everything with the parasite so the hive mind can consume all life in the universe. The alien hive mind works with an efficiency that's kind of impressive. It doesn't take long before almost everyone in this small town has been consumed into the parasite's thrall.

    How They Are Defeated: Like a lot of hive minds, when the main parasite goes down, so do its followers. After Grant Grant is blown up with a propane tank, everyone who's infected perishes, leaving three survivors to explain what happened.

    27 votes

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  • The Children In 'Village of the Damned'
    Photo: Loew's

    The Hive Mind: From the moment they can walk and talk, the impeccably dressed psychic children at the center of Village of the Damned stick together as if their lives depend on it. When they're not using telepathy to speak with one another, they're using it to make the adults in their town off themselves - or just read minds for the heck of it.

    Because no one likes a group of precocious children - especially when they exert an iron will through telepathy - the adults of the world do their best to wipe them out to less than stellar results. The children can read the minds of anyone within a close enough proximity to do them harm, so it's fairly easy for them to put the kibosh on any plans to take care of them.

    How They Are Defeated: Professor Gordon Zellaby comes to the realization that if all he thinks about is a brick wall, then that's all the children will see when they look into his mind. He uses this fail-safe plan to bring a bomb into a meeting with the children and blow them to hive mind heaven.

    33 votes
  • The Hive Mind: The alien parasite slug things from The Faculty spread throughout Harrington High in suburban Ohio by jamming themselves into a person's body and taking over their brains. As long as the host body ingests enough water, the aliens can use the bodies to continue spreading their parasites.

    In their pursuit of spreading their parasites across the planet, the slugs utilize their outsized strength, intellect, and healing abilities to chase down the teens of Harrington High and infect every single one of them. Much like the Borg, the alien parasites follow the directive of a single massive queen parasite slug.  

    How They Are Defeated: The alien parasite's need for water is their downfall. The few teens who aren't infected with the parasites utilize a homemade drug known as "Scat" that dries out the human body. After the teens inject the parasite queen with Scat, she and each of her drones perishes.

    23 votes

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